The Great British Bake Off 2014: Everything You Need To Know About This Year’s Contestants

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  • Paul, Mary, Sue and Mel are back on our screens for the fifth series of The Great British Bake Off. Once again, 12 amateur bakers will try to impress the judges with their own brand of delicious, beautiful and occasionally poorly executed cakes and bakes. So clear your diary, pour a glass of Pimm's and get out the bunting - here are this year's contestants, all gearing up to avoid the dreaded soggy bottom...

    Martha, 17

    Martha is the Great British Bake Off’s youngest ever contestant. The Berkshire baking enthusiast is still in school but manages to squeeze in quality baking time around studying for her AS Levels.

    Speciality: Science
    Despite still being a student, Martha has focused all her attention on baking and is something of a mini Heston Blumenthal. She’s currently studying food technology, chemistry and wants to be a food scientist. Fancy. “I may be in school, but my head is always in the kitchen,” she told the BBC.

    What to expect: Chocolate cake
    Martha says this classic cake is her favourite bake, so we can look forward to longingly salivating at the TV screens as Paul and Mary sample lots of delicious gooey chocolate sponge. Yum.

    Tricks up her sleeve: Misdirection
    During a school baking competition, she accidentally set her oven glove on fire, causing the whole building to be evacuated. She didn’t let the drama ruffle her feathers and still managed to snag second place.

    Claire, 31
    Cheshire speech therapist by day, baker by night. This contestant comes from a family of wedding cake decorators and chefs, so great bakes are in her blood.

    Speciality: Presentation
    Since being trained in the art of baking from a young age, presentation is key to Claire’s work, so we can expect lots of wow-factor cakes. Her chemist husband has helped tame her chaotic kitchen ways, honing her organisational skills to match her presentation.

    What to expect: Quirk
    She likes to go over-the-top when decorating, which she claims will either be her strength or her downfall on the show. Claire also attends slimming clubs armed with cakes for her fellow slimmers, so we can expect some unorthodox habits to pop up on the show.

    Tricks up her sleeve: Family know-how
    Coming from a long line of bakers, Claire has the technical know how that could set her apart from the other contestants.

    Chetna, 35
    Hailing from India, this fashion designer used baking as a way to embrace British culture when she first moved to Kent ten years ago. Chetna said it was quite the culture shock, coming from the densely populated Mumbai.

    Speciality: Flavour
    Chetna uses traditional Indian spices in classic British bakes, so expect bursts of unusual flavour and a unique take on the Bake Off tasks.

    What to Expect: Fusion
    When she got stuck into baking, she combined her mum’s traditional recipes with the English dishes she was creating, giving her food an unexpected jolt of spice.

    Tricks up her sleeve: Spice, of course.
    Expect Chetna’s recipes to pack an extra punch.

    Diana, 69
    The oldest Great British Bake Off contestant so far, Diana grew up on a Shopshire farm, where she had access to the freshest ingredients available.

    Speciality: Tradition
    Traditional British dishes are this Great British Bake Off contestant’s calling card. Diana is confident making cakes, pies or pastries, so should keep her cool under pressure – except when baking bread, which she’s not too confident in. Watch out, Paul!

    What to expect: Quick fixes
    Diana can whip up something amazing with almost anything left in the cupboard. She may be a traditional baker, but she’s certainly got a knack for being resourceful, too.

    Tricks up her sleeve: Recovery
    When Diana taught a baking class, 12 cakes slid off the table and on to the floor. She seamlessly repaired each one (over a week, mind you) and none of her students noticed the mishap.

    Enwezor, 39
    This Londoner relocated to Portsmouth, to work at the university. He loves baking with his family and is completely self-taught.

    Speciality: Tackling the hard stuff
    ‘I love making things like macaroons or éclairs. I enjoy a degree of technical difficulty.’ he told the BBC. However tricky or complicated, Enwezor is fearless in the kitchen. Be afraid, fellow bakers.

    What to Expect: All hands on deck
    When cooking at home, this Great British Bake Off contestant likes to get everyone involved. Will we see Mary Berry break a sweat over the mixing bowl?

    Tricks up his sleeve: Practice makes perfect
    Enwezor once took up a night shift with a professional baker just to get the experience. He ended up baking 900 loaves, just for the love of the craft.

    Iain, 31
    This Irishman has been around the world and back again. He’s now settled in London and hopes to open a café where he can show off his skills.

    Speciality: Globetrotting
    While travelling, Iain picked up a thing or two from the countries he visited, and now incorporates these new cultural elements into his baking.

    What to expect: Loads of Veggies
    Iain is a strict vegetarian and grew up knowing the benefits of eating fresh, organic vegetables. Expect lots of healthy bakes and veggie-based cakes.

    Tricks up his sleeve: Irish charm
    Iain will often bring his bakes onto construction sites, using his polite Irish ways to charm his fellow workers. Watch out, Mary!

    Jordan, 32
    Jordan is a self-confessed ‘nerdy baker’ who loves playing Dungeons and Dragons and reading comic books. This I.T. Manager from Nottingham also loves trying new things, from hairdressing to embroidery, but his first love will always be cake.

    Speciality: Foodie mash ups
    As a firm believer in the ‘more is more’ philosophy, Jordan bakes to create incredible combinations of our favourite foods. Pretzel Croissant, anyone?

    What to expect: Sticking to the rules
    ‘With coding you have steps you have to follow, and if you don’t, something will break. With baking you have to stick to a recipe. If you don’t something will go wrong or it won’t turn out as you want it to.’

    Tricks up his sleeve: Competitive spirit
    Jordan recently joined a baking club, where he aims to win the ‘best cake’ award every week. It was like ‘a red rag to a bull’, he told the BBC.

    Kate, 41
    Working as a furniture upholsterer in Brighton, Kate uses baking as a way to get involved in neighbourhood causes.

    Speciality: Three dimensions
    Her creations are larger than life. This Great British Bake Off contestant once made a life-sized bond girl cake and a sculpture of her friend’s head. Also in cake, of course.

    What to Expect: Intuition
    Kate doesn’t believe in sticking to the books. She doesn’t follow recipes and doesn’t mind a little mistake. ‘You can hide anything with a good bit of piping,’ she said to the BBC.

    Tricks up her sleeve: Her cakes will save the day
    Her cakes raised over £150,000 that was needed to renovate the 140-year-old Exeter Hall.

    Luis, 42
    This Great British Bake Off contestant hails from Poynton is a graphic designer with a serious sweet tooth. Though he’s got plenty of hobbies, including beekeeping and making model aeroplanes, baking reigns supreme.

    Speciality: Design
    As a graphic designer, Luis has a keen eye for presentation and will often opt for themed bakes over simplicity.

    What to expect: Honey
    ‘I keep bees and I use their honey in a lot of my recipes. I also grew up in a Spanish household so that definitely influenced my flavours,’ he told the Manchester Evening News.

    Tricks up his sleeve: Booze
    Luis incorporates different spirits into some of his recipes, like his cherry brandy pipette gateaux and a tequila slammer cheesecake for an extra kick.

    Nancy, 60
    Retired Nancy embodies the Good Life spirit at home in Lincolnshire with her husband Tim, where they make time to grow vegetables, raise guinea fowl and train dogs. The humble bread machine reignited Nancy’s love of baking eight years ago as she moved from baking bread to pastries and perfecting a mean lemon meringue pie.

    Speciality: Attention to detail
    Expect highly technical bakes from Nancy, who is keen to show off her ability and prove her worth as a baker.

    What to expect: French-inspired bakes
    Having renovated a house in the south of France with her husband, Nancy says the area has influenced her baking. She even learnt some of her skills from a local chef.

    Tricks up her sleeve: Memory
    Nancy’s grandmother taught her to cook without relying on a recipe book. This could be handy, when the blind bake takes place.

    Norman, 66
    Norman, a fiercely proud Scot, joined the Merchant Navy at 19, travelling the world and no doubt picking up a wealth of culinary delights at the same time.

    Speciality: Bread
    Will Norman be able to impress Paul with a great batch of bread? He claims to bake at least one bloomer a week, so that’s plenty of practice for the show.

    What to expect: Creativity
    Norman is a bit of a dab hand with the pottery wheel, plays the clarinet and makes clocks, so creativity is second nature. Will he rival Frances’ fab bakes from last year?

    Tricks up his sleeve: Endurance
    Norman once fell overboard when in the Navy, near the Solomon Islands. He swam to shore and waited to be picked up an inter-island cruiser!

    Richard, 38
    Richard is a baking builder from north London, where he still lives with his wife and two little girls. He’s a pro in the garden and likes to bake bread and pastry in his spare time.

    Speciality: Bread
    Another bread-lover trying to melt Paul Hollywood’s stony heart with a great bloomer. Also make his daughter’s birthday cakes every year. Ahh.

    What to expect: Novelty cakes
    Richard is big on novelty cakes and even turned his wedding cake into a Star Wars Millenium Falcon! We wonder what his wife thought of that?

    Tricks up his sleeve: Bake Off Knowledge
    Richard has watched every single episode of the Bake Off, ever. He could have the upper hand over the other contestants and won’t be surprised by any of Paul or Mary’s curve balls.

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